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New Client FAQs- Part 1

New Client FAQs- Part 1

When we meet a new client for the first time, we are frequently asked some of the same questions.  It’s not uncommon and perfectly natural to be concerned about things like merits of the case itself or associated costs.  We thought it would be helpful to compile several FAQs.  You’ll want to look for Part 2 as well.

Do I have a good case?

Two main elements to any lawsuit – a) did the person/corporation being sued to something wrong that caused you some harm?  This is “liability.”  b) How badly did this harm you? – financially, emotionally, physically – this is “damages.”  It is a jury that generally determines liability and damages.

A strong lawsuit must have both elements.  Every case must be evaluated on its own facts, and we have decades of experience in evaluating liability and damages and can give valuable advice on each and how they combine to affect a case.

How long will my case take?

For the purposes of this blog, we’ll examine general civil cases.  This is a broad category of cases, in which “a plaintiff requests the enforcement or protections of a right or the redress or prevention of a wrong.”1 Examples include personal injuries, automobile torts {wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability}, malpractice matters, contract disputes, and more.

The American Bar Association (ABA) has published time standards for types of cases.  With regard to general civil cases, they provide that 90 percent of all general civil cases should be tried or disposed within 12 months after filing; 98 percent with 18 months; and 100 percent with 24 months.2

General Steps in a Lawsuit

  • The Complaint- lays out the Plaintiff’s claim
  • File Summons and Complaint to commence the action
  • Defendant answers Complaint
  • Discovery (exchange of documents and information by both parties)
  • Parties reach an agreement, or case is disposed of by motion or case goes to trial
  • One or both parties may appeal decision

As you may have guessed, there are no concrete answers when it comes to duration of civil cases. The process can take from as little as six months to many years.  Every states requires is courts to prioritize the processing of criminal cases over civil cases.

Another factor:  witnesses.  Witnesses could  be called to testify shortly after the event in question to the better part of a decade after it happened.  One also must consider the money at stake.  In general, the less money at stake, and the more issues that can be resolved in a pre-trial setting, the smoother and faster the lawsuit will go.

Contact Kansas City attorney Andy Protzman today with any other FAQs you might have.  We are happy to evaluate the merits of your civil case needs.  Call Protzman Law Firm at 816.421.5100 or email

1 Guide to Statistical Reporting, supra, note 3 at 6.

2 Model Time Standards for State Trial Courts

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